Thursday, December 31, 2015

Year End Reflections

10 Highlights
1.  Family cruise with dolphin swimming,  frozen key lime pie,  karaoke singing, chocolate lava cake and celebrating Laila's 13th birthday.
2.   Landon and Alex's HOT wedding with  Sophia, Andrew and Alfie walking down the aisle holding a balloon
3.  Andrew's baptism with Laila speaking and Wayne confirming him.
4. Seeing Truman in Shrek the Musical, Laila in Peter Pan, Bre in Little Mermaid and Addison in Young Frankenstein
5.  Laila making Cheerleader
6. Hiking Angel's Landing with the Madsens
7. Bear Lake beach time with Family
8. Showing Laila  NYC for her first time
9. Meeting  beautiful new grandbaby Tayla for the first time
while we hung out in the door way and saw the nurse and Monson hold her up...we squealed and cried.
10.  My 5 Carol's show...for the 4th year

7 Disappointments

1. Marcie dying.  We were supposed to grow old together and share our grandchildren and long lives with purple hats and blue hair
2. Watching my boys drift farther away from the LDS word of wisdom standards
3. Having Landon and Alex still in court with child custody issues 
4.  Laila struggling with self esteem, friends and staying motivated in school
5.  Not getting our driveway situation figured out.  We need more cement or fewer cars.
6. Finding out none of us were put in charge of Dad's banking affairs before he died, so we had to spend a lot of money to get it figured out.
7.  The new church policy for sad

3 Game Changers
1. Marcie dying from ugly cancer
2. Dad dying and now we have to settle his and mom's estate and solve money and things and stuff issues and sell the house.
3. Monson and Lexi  and Truman all moving back home.... we have a full HOUSE

3 Things you Focused on

1. Treasuring time spent at Marcie's bedside and Dad's chair side....talking about the daily and the important
2. Going to the Temple more to find peace and perspective
3. Moving forward.  Getting out of bed in the morning and not going to bed too early at night. 

3 Things You Forgot..or did differently

1. Thanksgiving at my house.   We ate on chinet plates instead of china to wash etc..
2. We spent time at Marcie and Gary's beach house for dinners at Bear Lake instead of under the trees. 
3.   No more Christmas eve sing along at Mom's house ending with the Hallelujah chorus.   We are missing a tenor, soprano and alto....and enthusiasm for it.


 It was a good, tough year with a lot of growth happening for me.   We had two deaths, two weddings, two kids moving back home and a birth.  All emotion filled experiences. 

The day Marcie and Gary came to my home to share the news that Marcie had Cancer .... I can still see her hopeful face and sense the emotion and feel the pit in my stomach.  

When dad passed I loved his last breath experience where we thought it was over then he gasped again and we all laughed....then we realized, Oh, he is gone.  It was crazy funny.  

Looking forward to 2016.  I know it will be a year of ups and downs just like every year.  I know we will get through it with love and grace.  I've been thinking about my word for 2016 to focus on.... Love, Friendship, Loyalty, Happiness, Fun, Change....still debating.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Year of Treasure

As I finish up 2015, I'm thinking about the word I chose to focus on - Treasure. When I picked this word last year I had no idea what 2015 would bring.   I hope I treasured my dad and Marcie while they were here. I hope I have treasured my family and friends more. I realize life is so fragile and I need to slow down, love and be in the moment more.  I know there are people in heaven and on earth to treasure. 
  I like this final quote about treasuring heavenly things. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas Morning was relaxed and joyous.  Everyone was grateful for what they received and there were a few fun surprises thrown in. I made everyone a Lyle Nelson Cole memory book with pics and parts of funeral talks to have as a keepsake.  It's like the one I made for mom when she passed.  

Laila got a hover board, a massager, clothes and a shopping spree and mindy mints and swig gift card etc..

Wayne got his LOTOJA medal and pics framed, a grandpa race track to play with the grandkids, a book and an apple watch etc...
Monson got a Grandpa  Lyle Suit, a mega plex popcorn bucket,  clothes, $, a massager etc...
Lexi, got an outdoor glider that sat outside Dad's back door, a DVD,  gas card  and a trip to Michigan. Her and Monson and Tayla leave Dec. 28 and get back on Jan. 4th.
Tru got a wok, cuisine art chopper, tv, $ a gas card, swig card and a silver tray, etc...
Melinda got pickle ball stuff, mindy mints and an apple watch,  a Tayla calendar, art prints, etc...
After presents comes our dance wars videos.  We draw for teams.   It was Melinda, Wayne and Monson  and we did our silly  video to "I can't feel my face when I'm with you," vs. Tru, Lexi and Laila who did their dramatic video to Adele's "Hello."   We started this last year and loved it so much that it's part of our Christmas tradition now.  It's a good thing we have a family of good sports....

By 5:00 all of my kids were in attendance for a formal Roast beef and Mashed potato dinner with all of the fixings and on Grandma Butters Royal Dalton china with the Reindeer goblets.  I inherited these from Mom's estate.  We opened presents and had our Lights On Celebration.  We turn off all of the lights, then we read scriptures about Christ being the Light of the world.  Then we had everyone pass a candle around and say how the person next to them brings light into their lives.  Sophia had me...she said, I was nice and a good cook....I'll take it.  Then we all moved into the Living room by the big tree and I turn on the lights to the obligatory Ooohs and Aaahs.  We sang Silent Night and it was such a sweet spritiual experience for all.  I truly felt the Christmas spirit and love for family, those present and gone away so strongly.  Alfie even said out of the blue, Hi to Papa I'm pretty sure he was in attendance.  We played games and just enjoyed each other.  

It was an all around beautiful, peaceful, fun Christmas.


Christmas Andrew is what we have named Dec. 26th .  It's Andrews's birthday and it just seems fitting.  Christmas Adam (23rd) Christmas Eve (24th) Christmas (25th) Christmas Andrew (26th)
Andrew turned 9 and we celebrated with Brazilian food and more family time.  

I can't believe I have 4 grandchildren who call me Meema or Momma Melinda...  They bring such joy!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Feliz Navidad

Christmas Around the World is our new Christmas Eve theme.  This year we celebrated Mexico with Feliz Navidad and 3 Mexicans joining us...Sal, his sister Senia and Marz, all are Tru's friends who needed a place to be on Christmas Eve and we were happy to have them.
We also had Wayne, Tru, Laila, Monson, Lexi, Tayla, my sister Liz and Me.   

We decorated with sarapes, sombreros and banners, we ate tamales and Cafe rio type salads and guacamole and chips with Liz's salsa.  We played card games, and Telestrations and then played on our simple instuments, Feliz Navidad.  We were going to go caroling but it was too cold... 18 we opted to make a video instead: 

We practiced our spanish accents and sounded more and more like Nacho Libre. 
Liz and I did a rousing rendition of an old Cole collection song, Pablo and Reindeer.

We ate churros dipped in authentic Mexican hot chocolate with cinnamon deliciousness....
....and then we got matching one piece jammies to watch the Christmas movie ELF in.  They didn't fit Wayne, but everyone else was good, except Monson who we made put red basketball shorts over his so they would be more modest and not so form fitting.  It was pretty funny.   We were all exhausted and slumbered in our beds til 9am Christmas morning.  

Feliz Navidad was a success.  We are deciding on a different county for next year.

Christmas Eve

Poppa Wayne doing puzzles with Sophia and Andrew
I've been looking forward to Christmas this year because I "shopped" for Christmas gifts out of my parents estate.  I was able to give a little something to each of my kids that will remind them of their grandparents.  It was sweet to then share these treasures with each of them.    We delivered these grifts around on Christmas Adam...Dec. 23rd.  
I have my Christmas light necklace on, and Adam his best Christmas sweater.
Our Christmas eve celebration always kicks off with extended Cole family breakfast at the Calls.  We started this breakfast tradtition when I was a child and my parents worked at Cold Esq....    We get together and have a wonderful breakfast  then have a white elephant gift exchange.   We have been trading a yard decoration of Meer Cats for years.  It just keeps coming back.  The gift that keeps on giving.  This year the big "hit" were prints by Addison of Pocahontas and his White christmas Sisters print.  Swig and Cafe rio gift cards were also a big hit.  
Poppa Wayne and Sophia
Guy, Preston and Angela
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Andrew, Alex and Landon
Casey, Becca and Jenna
Fernando, Rachel, Adam and Christine
Lexi and Tayla
Aaron and Melinda
Allison, Megan and Liz
We all take off for bowling around 11:00.  For many of us this is the only time all year we bowl, so our scores are pretty low, but our spirits are always high.
Chris and Adam in his second costume of the day.....
Al and Liz are all lit up..... I told them this could be next years christmas card.
The only pic of the whole group was captured on Al's I took a picture of it.  Hopefully a big one is on it's way.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

5 Carols for Christmas

I'm back with my CAROLS!!!  4th Christmas of performing this and still loving every moment of it.  We are at WSU with new scenery, dresses, wigs and microphones.   
We love Jim Christian and Kenny Plain for creating this show just for us. Or atleast it feels that way. 
Kenny Plain-music director,  Lindsea Garside as Ling Ling, me as Ms Q, MaurieTarbox as CaroleAnn, Jan Smith as Noisey, Julie Blatter as Kitty and Jim Christian as Director and creator 
I had my greatest fans come to preview. It was a disaster in many ways but I'm just hoping the adage of lousy final dress awesome opening night comes true.  Holly lives this show. She knows every line and remembers exactly what's coming next. 
Alfie didn't know who I was. I sounded like MeeMa but that was it. Not one smile or acknowledgement came my way. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Thursday, December 10, 2015


Kimi came up with an official name for our traveling group.. The Welnapley's... Welches, Belnaps and Farleys.

Welnapley get away- top Ten :

Cowboy Christmas shopping 
Singing Christmas carols in the car
Rodeo time
Matching Pink shirts for the boys
Everyone Biking 25 miles including Laura and Kimi on the e-bikes
Night Card games
4 hours of Pickle ball
Yamasushi and the crazy sushi names
Not having to walk on the Vegas strip
Quick visit to see Jane and Steve on their mission!

Show me the way to go home.... Amazing Sunset!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Christmas Happenings

5 Carols for Christmas is underway (again) up at Weber State this year.  I'm so thrilled I'm a part of this holiday tradition.  Putting on Ms. Q. again and dusting off the harmonies with my fellow Carols makes me soooo happy.

We are getting new costumes and scenery this year and we will be performing in the Allred theatre at WSU where the first Carols show was premiered with Bre in the part of LingLing.  She will always be THE Lingling for me.

It's actually so nostalgic for me to be on the Allred stage.  It brings back my college days.  I performed so many shows there.....  Student Prince, The Boyfriend, Godspell, Sound of Music, Annie Get Your Gun, Pippin, The Abdication ... 
Plus I have seen so many shows my Addison and Bre performed in on that stage.  It's a great space.

I love my Carols.  Maurie, Jan, Julie, Lindsey and myself just have so much fun together.  We have even all taken up Pickleball and we are planning our own production of Nunsense this spring to perform in the Clearfield space.

My Christmas decorations are up.  I really loved doing it this year because I could incorporate some of mom's stuff with mine.

Nostalgia tree.. all of the ornaments I made starting when I was ten years old up to what the kids have made for me and the cousins when we used to have an ornament exchange.    
Mom's Fontini Jerusalem set/ Nativity  on the baby grand piano in my living room....

Jesus tree.  It gets simpler every year and I still love having baby Jesus actually asleep in the tree and my friend Paula's lovely calligraphied quotes and scriptures about the Savior.
Here is a little Living room tour

We have already had our first Christmas party with the extended Welch family. We had the live nativity with two Mary's and two baby Jesus'.  Tayla was one of them.
Haylee as an angel, Holly as an angel and Abby as Mary with baby Jesus-Tayla

 We also had our first ever family talent show and a white elephant gift exchange.  So happy to be part of this wonderfully, loving family.  Here is our lame talent...of the Christmas Singers and Wayne doing some magic.

Alfie is adorable and has us all wrapped around his finger.  He can do no wrong.   He says his full name Alfie Grandpa Lyle's unbelievably darling!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving at my home

With all of the change this year, I hosted Thanksgiving at my home for the first time ever. We moved furniture to the garage and brought in two church tables and set it all up for 29 people.
It was good to have most of the Cole side here. (We were missing Becca and  Casey and Jordan's family) We had great turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, potatoes and dressing...4 variations of green bean casseroles, delicious creamed onions, carrots and cabbage and bacon Brussel sprouts.  The rolls were dough balls with only the tops being done and the bottoms not cooked thanks to dad's faulty oven.  

We had pies coming out of our eyes with the remnants of the Call's pie party. They had more pies and people than ever before. I called it the "pity pie party" since after all of the deaths this year everyone came to show their support. It was actually very nice. It was our family's 37th pie party. We recounted the history and how it all began....we used to always go to Grandma Butters the night before Thanksgiving to set the tables and mom would deliver her fresh baked pies that night and Grandpa Butters always wanted a piece of pie because it would taste better if he wasn't so full of turkey. He was right. Eventually all the family had a piece of pie the night before and then mom started inviting extended family and friends and had her famous one sliver of each kind of pie or a one of each... "Oneofitch" Russian serving...and eventually was featured in magazine articles in the early 90's. She was a pie party pioneer and now there are pie parties everywhere carrying on her legacy. 
I passed around the Thankful journal and of course we went around the tables and said what/ who we are thankful for. We had Aisha Nalder and Fernando's sister Luz and brother in law as our guests. It's always good to share our blessings and abundance. 
We all went down to mom's house after for a final grandkids go through of things and stuff and now everything left in the house will be taken to the DI. 
We finished up with a movie-The Good Dinosaur.   It's how we like to celebrate and have our dinner of popcorn and soda to end our day of gratitude.